Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) in Rainsville, Alabama, hosted Daniel Wallace, author of the novel Big Fish. The college’s production of the Broadway play by the same name opened on April 21 and closed on May 1. Wallace arrived on Thursday, April 28, and was the guest of honor at a dinner before attending the theatre’s production that evening. At the end of the play, Wallace was brought on stage to answer questions posed by the audience. The first question was actually the beginning of a tribute to Wallace presented by the cast and crew. The tribute included a presentation of one of the show’s iconic numbers revised to honor Wallace.
On Friday, April 29, Wallace returned to campus for a presentation that included a reading and a question-and-answer session. Immediately after the presentation he signed copies of his novels as well as play bills. The book signing was followed by a brunch with college personnel and students involved in planning Mr. Wallace’s appearance on campus.
"Mr. Wallace was a wonderful guest and speaker at Northeast," stated NACC President Dr. David Campbell. "He is an exceptional speaker who adds humor to his very wise insights and stories. I am proud that by bringing him to campus, Northeast could demonstrate the very close interaction and connection among the writing, theater, and other fine arts."
Wallace was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but has lived most of his life in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He presently serves as the J. Ross Macdonald Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, his alma mater, where he directs the Creative Writing Program. In 2010 he was awarded the Johnston Award for Teaching Excellence. Joan Reeves, Chair of the English and Fine Arts Division at Northeast, noted, “The novel Big Fish has a magical quality to it and so does Daniel Wallace. I do not know when I have met a more genuine person who has a way of making everyone he meets feel special. Faculty and students alike were awed by his charm and quick wit.”
Wallace’s novels include such works as Ray in Reverse (2000), The Watermelon King (2003), Mr. Sebastian and Negro Magician (2007), The Kings and Queens of Roam (2013), and of course, Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions (1998). In 2008 Wallace collaborated with George Singleton, the 2016 Northeast Arts and Humanities Speaker’s Forum author, to write a piece of nonfiction entitled, Pep Talks, Warnings, and Screeds: Indispensable Wisdom and Cautionary Advice for Writers. His work has been published in over two dozen languages, and his illustrations have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Italian Vanity Fair, and many other magazines and books.
The college provided this event for the community as well as the students, faculty, and staff at Northeast as part of the Arts and Humanities Speakers Forum. The event was co-sponsored by the college’s English honor society, Sigma Kappa Delta. For more information about the English and Fine Arts programs, contact Joan Reeves at email@example.com.